Sunday, April 3, 2016

Illusions and implications of a deeper Arctic snow layer

~Arctic surface snow depth turns out to be a very complex issue.

          The very powerful  El-Nino 2016 almost peaked at Christmas 2015,  therefore according to
the cloud seeding theory,  the Arctic was covered with clouds during the long night,  and so it was,  not only cloudy but snowy,   in particular during October and November (El-Nino Maximum temp anomaly).

    Snowfall was great,  in some places multiple times the monthly average record.  Ironically,  ENSO driven heat causation making more snowfall  created more sea ice extent than it would of otherwise.  Snow spreads to open sea water either from sky or drifts, as it floats just below the sea surface, it doesn't melt  since sea water is usually -1.8 C.   This floating snow enables ice to form more quickly.  Immersed snow is usually much colder than -2 C during Arctic winter.

   However if greater snow layer covers sea ice,  the snow insulates direct contact of air to ice,  the more insulation there is,   the less heat loss of sea water,  accretion slows a great deal more.

   In one case,  snow helps create sea ice,  in the other,   it slows the build up of sea ice thickness.

   Complexities continue especially in the spring time when the sun reappears after the long night.
After long night less ice fabrication because of greater snow insulation,  the opposite occurs,  the sun doesn't warm  the ice just as much as it could with a lesser more Arctic normal snow layer.   A melt stall occurs,  and this has just happened.  The latest maximum sea ice extent appears flat:

The warmer winter just past gave a less parabolic sea ice extent graph feature ,  the greater snowfall must have also flatlined the maximum extent.

    There is also lesser melting of the thinner in ice blackish leads even with a full forced "big blue"
event outgoing at this time.  Arctic big blue occurs when there is hardly any clouds for months,  this usually happens when ENSO trends towards La-Nina.  

EOSDIS april 1,2015  North of Beaufort sea appeared broken,  with many blackish leads and fractures.

Although 2014-15 was a warm winter,  this satellite photo of April 1, 2016 appears to suggest that the winter of 2015-16 was colder.  But it wasn't.  The illusion of less broken sea ice was done curtesy  of greater snowfall and winds drifting  snow on the sea ice more evenly.

       Spring 2016 sea ice is over all  thinner than 2015 all the way to the North Pole.  

   There are more features to the sea ice greater snow layer.  Refraction wise,  the horizon appears
usually higher at local apparent noon,  but lower in the evening on most occasions.   Sun rays
are not getting through to the ice as with a normal snow cover,  and this affects the entire surface to air interface thermal physics of the Arctic with significantly more snow.  

Finally this GIF animation compares the snow dilemma well:

      Although there appears to be no graph available for snow on top of sea ice,  this page here displays great snow cover anomalies on land next to the Arctic Ocean.

WD April 3, 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Arctic Ocean Archipelago sea First Melt 2016 , earliest in recent historical record

~There is also some unfamiliar gyrations or lack thereof of the sea ice horizon

    What is sea ice first melt?   Best explained by observations:

March 9 2013,  a diurnal variation of the sea ice horizon.    This is newly formed first year sea ice from the worse melt in sea ice history in 2012.     At left the horizon was lowest,  following sun ray bombardment at local apparent noon, this happens when the thermal structure of the sea surface to air interface has an isothermal structure.  the air immediately above the ice has a lapse rate nearing 0 degrees C/km.   As the evening approached concurrently with the lower sun elevation something not
immediately obvious happens,  the horizon rose( middle)  by a very significant 1.3' (minutes of arc),  this would be if the sea ice physically rose 18.6 meters  40 kilometers away.    At sunset (right picture)  the horizon didn't rise much further in fact dropped a bit,  this means the ice was not so thick.     The sea ice core temperature could be very much colder,  11' of arc horizon boost was measured once in the same location.

    Sea ice core temperature is an important player in sea ice horizons.  Thermodynamically,
with lab conditions, air cools faster than ice (in a dark place,  like a cloudless night),  when not warmed by sun rays,  this would lower the horizon if so.  But the ice usually has a significantly colder core than its surface warmed by solar radiation.  This core cools the noon warmed sea ice surface faster than the air, which in turn cools the interface air faster than the layer of air just above it.   A colder layer of air under a warmer one is called an inversion.  An observer can "see" this inversion by studying the horizon.    

    A very old sea ice pan,  say 10 meters thick, has a colder core temperature even outlasting the Arctic summer (the ice survives!),  thicker sea ice can have much colder core temperature,  and conversely, the horizon may rise.    The opposite is so,  the thinner the sea ice ,  the warmer the core and the lesser the horizon shift:

March 9 2016,  the sea ice horizon did not move despite partially sunny conditions (3' of arc),  and some haze,  the same thing happened on sunny  March 7.  Therefore ,  this is first melt conditions.  Whereas the horizon like this has not been measured since there was open water last September and or thin sea ice last October .

   First melt in early March?  

         Repeatable horizon measurements at the same altitude as when open water temperatures  was equal to the air is the definition of the first melt,  When so,  accretion stops, and the bottom may melt since sea water is as warm as bottom salty sea ice.

2015 first melt was March 26,  2014 April 10,  2013 March 23,  2012 March 17, 2011  April 15 and 2010 March 19.  


       Without a doubt 2016 has the thinnest ice,  thinner than 2012.   And the sea ice causing the least variations in March,  the coldest historical sea ice period.   If there is no massive cooling about,  this thinner sea ice means earliest arrival of melt ponds with earliest break ups all over the Arctic.  If we follow the South Cornwallis Island record carefully,  the second earliest first melt year was 2012.   WD March 9,2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

2016 Arctic sea ice thickness may be thinnest in history?

~Satellite sensors and refraction method match results.
~On a wider scale 2016 is heading towards a furtherance of  all time melt records.

    After 2012 super synergistic melt.  Arctic sea ice looked doomed.  But the last thing most experts forgot, the one reason why 2012 sea ice melted so much was that all the weather elements were inclined to do so.  Compaction was nearly as ideal as 2007,  clouds and cyclones were scarce,  along with clear blue 24 hour solar ray melting.    The once thick expansive mighty multi-year ice pack  was limited to a thin sliver of the NW Arctic Archipelago coast.  And so it looked like the next few years we should have seen a whole lot of less sea ice.  That wasn't so, not because weather varies from summer to summer,  but especially,  ironically,  it takes
thick sea ice to create summer Arctic dipoles creating great compactions.  The next few melt seasons were lesser,  because there was far lesser compaction and much more clouds (cooling) especially from ever so persistent summer cyclones over the Arctic Ocean.  

   Despite very poor summer insolation seasons for 2013,2014 and to a lesser extent for 2015.  
Sea ice thickness early February 2016  appears significantly diminished everywhere in the Arctic but for near the North Pole.  The reason why PIOMAS appears to indicate much more over all sea ice thickness is a mystery to me.  The US Navy seems to have a better grasp on the measure of things.

   PBS latest NOVA    "Mystery Beneath the ice"  was about plummeting krill stocks in Antarctica.  
But they reiterated a huge problem with sea ice,  its not uniformly stratified on its surface or bottom.  
The way to measure sea ice thickness over its entire region may be very complex,  and definitely requires satellites with resolution capacities approaching 1 meter.  But there is another way,  horizon refraction measurements capture the lapse rate of the sea ice to air interface instantly,  ultimately simplifying the effort of measuring things meter by meter.  Instead an horizon photograph 
encapsulates the actual over all thickness of the sea ice as well as the temperature of its air right above, over a huge area at once.  

     Now let us compare the US NAVY with horizon refraction method:

February 6 2013,  the sun just appeared,  but its rays penetrate many equivalent atmospheres,  its effect was still felt further to the South,  and a layer of warm air spread Northwards.  Depending on how thick the ice is,  the sea ice horizon will vary in height.   The thinner the ice,  the weaker the inversion lapse rate immediately above, the lesser the horizon rises.   Right after the great melt of 2012 the sea ice of the Northwest Passage from Southwest Cornwallis Island appeared thin.  

February 6 2016,  the Northwest passage sea ice appears thinner,  each line 3.3' of arc.  
The shallowest of horizon height gains ever for this time of the year.   It is almost first melt time a full 40 days before the earliest day observed.  

These zoomed sections of the top maps above (February 6 2013 (left), from center to right is the same area on February 6 2016 .  Cornwallis Island is seen second island from the extreme left where the thin line is the observation ray path from land towards the left (the NorthWest passage).  2013 had thicker sea ice,  2016 much thinner.   Likewise the ice horizon of February 6 2013 was higher than same day in 2016.  

            Although there is still a lot of sea ice,  this years outlook is very bleak.  The only thing stopping a further expansive melt are clouds and the positioning of cyclones during the summer season. WD February 8, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Northerm Hemisphere temperature projection successful yet again.....

~The warm year was not only because of El-Nino  

  Todays NY Times headline: 

2015 Was Hottest Year in Historical Record, Scientists Say

And so it was

2014    95   66  118  105   90   83   74   90   86   96   84  109     91  89     80  104   82   89  2014
2015   114  115  123  102   99  104   88   99  112  124  136  148    113 110    113  108   97  124  2015
Year   Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec    J-D D-N    DJF  MAM  JJA  SON  Year

      According to NASA 2015 Northern Hemisphere January to December average was +0.22 C greater than 2014 during the same period.  A staggering near 20% jump. El-Nino's influence can be read at year end.  The beginning of the year was likely more at the state of warming already in Earth's atmosphere.  The other warmest El-Nino was 1998: 

1998    66  105   71   88   67   74   78   74   62   56   59   79     73  71     75   75   75   59  1998

   ENSO peak to peak temperature maximums are simply not explaining the 0.4 C temperature gain since 1998.   

From EH2r Refraction prediction April 18, 2015: 

"Because of overwhelming refraction heat signals, 2015 will be warmest year in Northern Hemisphere history -  by a significantly larger margin than 2014.  No High Arctic observations over Cornwallis Island gave a consistent sign of cooling, despite being right near center of coldest atmosphere in the world.  This forecast is not at all counting on El-Nino rising again,  which undoubtedly guaranties more heat."

   The writing of 2015 warming was in sun disks well before year end.   However, refraction prognosis methods are not only to be  found with astronomical objects.  2016 is already significantly warmer than 2015 by another way to judge the warmth 
of the planet......  With sea ice.    More on this soon.  WD January 20 , 2016

Saturday, January 2, 2016

In total darkness Mid-winter Record shattering heat surge over the Arctic Ocean

~There were Cyclonic incursions in the past , but there was more sea ice thickness
~Density Weighted Temperatures of the Northern Hemisphere undeniably demonstrate a warmed planet especially since 1998
~There is no sun over the Arctic yet we witness no "IRIS" effect when the planet is at its warmest

First we look back to late 1980 when the multi-year ice was very thick:

 It was a warm Christmas over Siberia in 1980,  much warmer than over the Canadian Arctic.
600 mb temperatures courtesy NOAA are very close to the Density Weighted Temperature (DWT)  of the entire troposphere.  Temperature picture December 26 (left) was not much different compared to December 29 (right), The Polar region in total darkness coldest air morphed a bit but everywhere temperatures of the entire atmosphere was colder than -20 C while in the Canadian Arctic as cold as -40 C almost all the way to the North Pole.  DWT 's clearly show the center of the Polar vortex,  where all Northern Hemisphere circulation driving winds turn counterclockwise around it.

  El-Nino 1998 was strongest,  likely stronger than 2015 to date,  already we see the circulation pattern markedly different same December 26-29 comparison with 1980.  Note the beginning of a Cyclone affecting the DW Temperature profile of the atmosphere about Iceland on December 29.
In 1998 the sea ice started to decline in thickness and extent.  Its a marking year.  Winter was still
strong during the holiday season.  Day to day variations of DWT's were very reasonably predictable and not dramatic.

El-Nino 2015 is similar to 1998,  except for a larger warmer sea temperature anomalies for the North Pacific.   Yet December 26-29 DWT image is staggeringly different,  as well as sea ice thickness and extent:

     The gradual   but rapid decrease in sea ice thickness since 1998 has had a major playing role  decreasing the build up to winter.

            From December 26 to 29 2015,  the entire Arctic atmosphere significantly warmed in total darkness!   An important Low pressure system,  one following many,  easily penetrated the North Pole region which had DWT temperatures usually close to -40 C,  now more like -8 C,  again this is the temperature of the entire atmosphere not just the surface, in the past not changing fast in a matter of days.   In total -no sun - darkness the usual pattern was stable DWT's.    Another marked feature of current 2015-16 season is this darkness warming,  never readily noticeable in the past,  as winter progresses it usually gets colder not warmer!  Now we noticed with ease  warming bursts at least 3 times since November 2015.  The Cold Temperature North Pole (CTNP) and Arctic has warmed significantly since 1998.  This allows Cyclones to penetrate a weakened state of winter which is made in great part in the Arctic,  this affects weather world wide.  But now, this is new,  we witness temperature warming surges causing incredible dynamic changes undoubtedly which will continue to cause tremendously different weather scenarios,  some good for warm temperature lovers,  but will cause many severe stressful events for human infrastructures as much as on all ecosystems.WD January 2, 2015


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Record shattering solstice temperatures causation: El-Nino? No . AGW ? No. Warming seas less Arctic sea ice? No.... All three? Yes

~World wide warming strictly attributed to El-Nino is quite misleading

These winter solstice  headlines:


Winter solstice 2015 may be as warm as this year's summer solstice, Met Office says


Weekend Warmth Breaks 142-Year-Old Record Across Eastern US


Record-breaking warmth on Christmas Eve? Here's where


   All these and more countries report very warm beginning of winter weather.  

    NOAA   also recorded warmer weather for much of the Arctic,  China/Mongolia Finland/NW Russia.  And the Spitzbergen NE from Greenland area.  

      Most TV reports cite El-Nino as the single cause for this warming.  Which is only a partial factor of attribution: 

NOAA US mean El-Nino temperature anomaly during winter  profile looks mot much like the current US temperature anomaly map as presented on the previous figure.  If Arctic sea ice is thinner 
with the oceans warmer,   the jet stream would bend elsewhere,  as it does,  giving a different anomaly result.  

The met office worldwide El-Nino warming tendency,  also does not look like the current  temperature anomaly presented above on top.    Especially for NW Russian and Eastern North America and China anomalies.  

   It is more reasonable to attribute this warming to a synergistic mix from well known causations .
None can stand alone as the single attribution for these solstice events.  But, thinner sea ice, warmer oceans (not only in the equatorial Pacific) and the warmest year in history:  

NASA GISS D-N +.84 C   for 2015,  exceeds 1998 +.63 C despite 1998 being as strong or stronger El-Nino than current 2015

.   On top of that, the Northern Hemisphere NASA GISS D-N is a staggering +1.1 C as opposed to 1998 +0.71 C.    

         This article is for TV Met presenters to be a bit more researched,  before they blame one cause or another for a mega event.   The most truthful simple statement would be:  

                                                             The world is warming. 

wd December 22, 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pack consolidation confirmed one month late

~Sure sign of consolidation,  winter has started for the Northern Hemisphere

    Temperatures colder than -15 C at the North Pole Area yesterday October 12 2015,
these are ripe temperatures indicating a complete freeze up of the Polar pack surviving last summers melt.  Most leads are frozen, new ones from sea ice movement freeze relatively quickly.  This North Pole anticyclone likely spawned by one large frozen pack like a Greenland High but at lower altitude,  indicates the beginning of winter which will spread Southwards more slowly except for Canada,  because of warm open sea water surrounding the pack.  Winter begins with a lot of resistance.  wd Oct 13 , 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

All long range weather projections must consider Sea Ice extent to be correct; April 19 2015 forecast comes through in September!

~El-Nino cooling great parts of Eastern North America did not happen.
~If only sea ice extent projections were just as easy as long range projections with a paper and crayons.

     April 18 Sketch of August September circulation,  part of my yearly long term projection based on refraction techniques and other means.  In Green is the jet stream.

A look at this 250 mb GFS jet stream map:

   Makes it so on September 23.   A very warm summer continues past the autumn  equinox, largely because the cold lost a lot of its source,  the summer Arctic Cryophere much reduced to Greenland and very much less sea ice than usual at this time of the year.

      The image of no Arctic sea ice at all during summer would leave Greenland as the center of the polar jet stream,  this would affect weather incomprehensibly strange except for UK and Ireland with loads full more rain,  but everywhere else would be weird.   Although not there yet,  lack of sea ice like September 2015,  gives us an impression
contradicting normal El-Nino summer just past expectations :

           "Although the primary effects of El Niño will likely be restricted to temperatures and snowfall in Central Canada, there could be a number of indirect consequences, such as lower grocery prices due to increases rainfall in California and a better growing season."

       "The forecast isn’t so sunny for Ontario and Quebec, where Scott says temperatures are expected to be cooler than seasonal norms overall.
Both the Prairie and Atlantic provinces are forecast to see summer temperatures within seasonal averages, with Alberta trending slightly warmer."

    The weather Network model got it wrong:

         NOAA past 90 days demonstrate the "below normal" Weather Channel projection was off, largely because its an El-Nino based forecast. Very little consideration is usually given to sea ice extent with respect to these outputs.

The apparently thorough WN essay had not one word about sea ice.

A neat current weather article of all places from Gawker:
        Breaks down this end of summer extension extremely well. In particular looking at CPC's outlook completely turns the tables on the Weather Network weather projection.

   To all those who try, be weary about making weather projections without considering the Polar Cryospheric prognosis.

       If only sea ice extent numbers were just as easy to predict. But Global weather is changing fast, faster perhaps than anyone with experience can be useful, because geophysical patterns are becoming unconventionally changing with increasing Global Temperatures. WD September 23, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 major melt contributor: lack of snowfall during preceding winter.

~Snowfall accelerates sea ice refreezing process
~Lack of snow increases accretion on existing sea ice  while reducing extent at yearly maxima

   One of the biggest factors of 2015 melt was the lack of snow driven by a pan-continental Russia to North america flow of middle Russia dry air.   In one hand , accretion is greater when sea ice is bare and exposed to Arctic long night sky.  On the other,  falling snow,  colder than sea water ,  floats and does not melt  below 0 C,  which is the definition of Arctic Ocean surface temperature in September.  In Arctic autumn, snow just floats or appears a bit submerged just under the surface, this stabilizes the sea surface and likely affects water column convection flow,   and creates just right conditions for refreezing.  I have documented Cryosphere Today mis-interpreting a snow laden sea as ice.   But very shortly after,  in a matter of days,  sea ice set.    Little precipitation during the long night also causes, and more importantly so,  less drifting snow,  which helps ice set much earlier in autumn,  or at any other time during the long dark winter.

  Looking at this CT Archive retrieval,  one would guess 2012 had a moderately greater melt than 2013.
Note the 2012 snow surface cover over lands of NW North-America and North-East Russia.  Logic would dictate more snow presence in tandem with more open water over these naturally colder regions,  it was so.  2012 Ice surface extent recovered remarkably quickly in no small part because it snowed more.

  But look again,  2012 at minima had a great deal less ice than 2013,  and not surprisingly more snow on said colder lands in 2012 rather than 2013,  despite the inferred warmer weather because of the Arctic Ocean massively open in 2012.

          But in 2012,  more than any other recent year,  this was filmed:

   No,  this is not ice,  not even grey ice,  but fresh snow covering sea water.   The winds were just right to create this result.
    Winds mixed the surface up,  and "snow cakes" still lingered on shore and not much further away covering most of the Strait, until the ice set in about 48 hours later.  There was no doubt that snow helped accelerating freeze-up.

     The lesson for 2015,  a dry Arctic winter decreases over all extent,  even though the ice, where it set became thicker, because of no insulation above it.  From the Great Lakes to Southwards towards Russia through the North Pole lied a greater winter imprint,  its lasting legacy is seen here today:
    Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay sea ice survives late in the melt season.  The imprint of a lesser snow cover has important significance.  WD July 24,2015


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It seems already time to pronounce Bye Bye 2012 record sea ice minima

With a warming El-Nino comes the prospect of more clouds,  but irrelevant during warm Arctic Summer because clouds form a whole lot less with much colder Arctic ground and sea temperatures than found further South.  
BOM El-Nino 3.0 index finally displays a burgeoning El-Nino after several quiescent activity periods  or false starts, from 2011 to January 2015.  

1 day apart SST charts july 19 2012,  july 20,2015.  The North Pacific is way warmer in 2015 as well.  
Undoubtedly contributing to a warmer pan-arctic summer.  The clouds should overwhelm when the sun will appear lower above the horizon,  by end of August.  

Cryosphere today July 18 2012 and 2015.   Arctic sea ice seems right on track to eclipse 2012 record minima,  note all the ice in Kara, Hudson and Baffin Bay seas in 2015,  remove it, about 300,000 Km2,  as it will surely happen, this makes July 18 2015 area  virtually tied with 2012 at this moment .  Except same date 2015 has huge more expansive water with Chukchi and East Siberian seas, exactly where it matters the most.  Beaufort's attributed 40% cover is a bit misleading as Beaufort opened and closed often by the prevailing winds.
From now on, the sun will do much further warming than 2012 on Chukchi and East Siberian, way more prominently in tandem with very warm North Pacific waters.   Hudson and Baffin Bay current sea ice areas are but temporary outliers and will vanish soon,  they are a product of a dry winter just past.   Snowfall helps create thicker sea ice,  less of it over the winter meant more sea ice accretion from the setting of fast ice onwards,  but also creating lesser ice Extent at maxima where the normal Arctic polynyas exist, these helped create a much more earlier ice free NW passage sea route just about to open.  The over all outlook is in favour for 2015 to become new standard bearer for all time minima extent and area, it will be quite obvious soon.   

Late August blitz melting of 2014 was sudden because of very weakened sea ice condition,  as we can see,  this blitz is occurring -now-  almost 1 month ahead of time.  wd july 21,2015